When I look back at my university experience at Durham, I can honestly say it’s been surreal. It has not been like my friends from home, and why would it be. We’ve had matriculation, formals, Klute, college events, Paddy’s pizza and experiences most others have not had. I have felt all the possible emotions while at university, the happiness, the exhaustion and the joy. Through the highs and lows of University, I’m lucky to have come to Durham, for all the wonderful people I’ve met and the support staff who I wouldn’t have made it through without. I thought I may get fed up of a place after four years, but realistically, after a few months of work I’ll be wishing I was back in the place which has become my home.
The magic of Durham and the North East of England has increased with time. I’ve learnt so much about the history and culture of the place and have grown to love seeing the cathedral on a daily basis. The walk to university every day, along the river path or going the ‘long way’ through the winding streets of the town has been bliss.
After four years, I thought I had done it all, yet when I thought about it (albeit while procrastinating from completing my degree), I had not done everything. We all have a Durham and/or North East Bucket list, maybe it’s climbing the cathedral tower (which many have had to wait a long time to do – it’s been closed for 3 years). I had a few things on my list. Firstly, I tried to find the wicker man, a sculpture based in Low Burnhall Woods behind Josephine Butler College. The Wicker man sculpture is of a Durham Miner overlooking the valley. The place is ever so peaceful, while there a friend and I reflected on everything, appreciating where we had been on our journey and how we were at the finish line of our master’s degrees. I’ve never been so at peace. The end to our Durham experience is bittersweet, it’s a place where you can be within 15 minutes walking distance from your friends, you can say “Swan?” and everyone knows what you mean and are there in minutes, where you can roll to the library within five minutes, and a place where, after four years, you’re still not used to the hills! While it is sad, at the same time, most of our memories here are happy, and we are ready and excited for the next part.
Another item on my list, a bit further afield than Durham was the Dog and Scone café in Newcastle. It’s always booked weeks in advance in term time so finally, being able to go was so much fun. Not just for the dogs, but a reason to get out of the library for a morning. I’ve missed being in the company of dogs, and it’s the best way to be around animals when you’re missing your own. I finally managed to get into Flat White Kitchen in town, after refusing to go for years as I didn’t want to queue, during the summer the queues subside (slightly). These mundane things made my final days in Durham fly by.
The inclusive Durham mantra of ‘giving-everything-a-go’ alongside the confidence this has given me is something which has changed my attitude towards myself and how I will approach my future. To those still at Durham, I would advise you to make the most of it, it will be over before you know it, make sure you’re spending your time at university around people who support you, people who make you want to be better, or people you simply enjoy the company of. There’s no point wasting time in this irreplaceable and surreal experience that is Durham.
In reflecting on my time here, the highs and lows, the sleepless nights in the library, and the student experience along the way, Durham has changed me for the better. There is a massive transformation from when I finished my A Levels and starting university at the age of 18 to finishing my masters at the age of 22. On to the next chapter….
Follow @thedurhamstudent Instagram account where I have been contributing over the past year and today hand this over to new page admin. Bye 🙂